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Comic book collecting

Overview br Comics are collected for several possible reasons including appreciation nostalgia financial profit and completion of the collection The comic book came to light in the pop culture arena in the 1930s due to the popularity of superhero characters Superman Batman and Captain Marvel Since the 1960s two publishers have dominated the comic book industry Marvel Comics publisher of such comics as Spider Man X Men and Fantastic Four and DC Comics which publishes titles such as Superman Batman and Wonder Woman Other large non manga publishers include Image Comics and Dark Horse Comics br As comic books regained their popularity in the 1960s during the boom of the Silver Age fans organized comic book conventions where they could meet to discuss their favorite comics with each other and eventually with the creators themselves As of 2006 numerous conventions and festivals are held around the world with San Diego Comic Con being the largest and best known convention in the United States br While some people collect comic books for personal interest in the medium or characters others prefer to collect for profit

To assist both types of comic book collector comic book price guides are available and provide estimates of comic book values as well as information on comic book creators and characters The price guides assign values for comic books based on demand availability and the copy s condition The longest running price guide is the annual Overstreet Price Guide first published in 1970 Current monthly price guides include Comics Buyer s Guide and Wizard magazine The growth of the Internet in the late 1990s saw development of online databases that tracked comic book creators and character appearances and storylines as well as websites that combine comic book price guides with personalized collection tracking to provide collection values in real time The Grand Comics Database is a popular online resource for comic book creator and character information Popular online price guide and collection tracking services include comicbookrealm com comicspriceguide com and nostomania com The increased popularity of online auctioning services like eBay or Heritage Galleries for buying and selling comic books has greatly increased the visibility of actual comic book sale prices leading to improved price guide accuracy particularly for online price guides such as nostomania com that base their values solely on sales data captured from online sources br In response to collectors interest in preserving their collections products designed for the protection and storage of comic books became available including special bags boxes and acid free backing boards designed to keep the comic book flat br History br The origins of comic book collecting as an organized hobby has its roots in the underground comics movement Before the late 1960s virtually no specialized comic stores existed and the notion of comics as collectible art was in its infancy In the US a few specialist shops had opened their doors by the 1960s but were still a small market In the UK the only distribution channels available were ordinary news stands and mail order publications like Exchange and Mart or through zines run by the early panelologists themselves During the 1970s major comic publishers like Marvel and DC Comics started to recognize the new movements and started publishing material that was intended for sale in specialist shops only When Marvel tested the new specialist market with the title Dazzler the comic sold over 400 000 copies a very respectable figure and one that astounded the company Hereafter comics publishers started tailoring ever increasing percentages of marketing and production solely for the sale in specialist stores While the bulk of the revenues still came from sales through regular channels the ability to focus more specifically on specific target groups as well as distributing comics not on a sale or return basis but in limited runs according to sales predictions from the retailers themselves over printing and overhead costs could be drastically reduced From the 1970s to the present day comics publishers have been targeting more and more of their titles to collector audiences with features such as limited editions the use of high quality paper or the inclusion of novelty items br The speculator boom br From roughly 1985 through 1993 comic book speculation reached its highest peaks This boom period began with the publication of titles like Batman The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen and summer crossover epics like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars After Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns made their mark mainstream attention returned to the comic book industry in 1989 with the success of the movie Batman and again in 1993 with The Death of Superman storyline br Once aware of this niche market the mainstream press focused on its potential for making money Features appeared in newspapers magazines and television shows detailing how rare high demand comics such as Action Comics 1 and Incredible Hulk 181 the first appearances of Superman and Wolverine respectively had sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars br During this time comic book publishers began to pander specifically to the collectors market Techniques used included variant covers polybags and gimmick covers When a comic was polybagged the collector had to choose between either reading the comic book or keeping it in pristine condition for potential financial gain or doing both by buying two copies Gimmicks included glow in the dark hologram enhanced die cut embossing foil stamped or foil embossed covers Gimmicks were almost entirely cosmetic in nature and almost never extended to improved content of the comics However many speculators would buy multiple copies of these issues anticipating that demand would allow them to sell them for a substantial profit at some nebulous point in the future br This period also saw a corresponding expansion in price guide publications most notably Wizard Magazine which helped fuel the speculator boom with monthly columns such as the Wizard Top 10 highlighting the hottest back issues of the month Market Watch which not only reported back issue market trends but also predicted future price trends and Comic Watch highlighting key undervalued back issues br Ironically the speculators who made a profit or at least broke even on their comic book investments did so only by selling to other speculators In truth very few of the comics produced in the early 90s have retained their value in the current market with hundreds of thousands or in several prominent cases over ten million copies produced of certain issues the value of these comics has all but disappeared Hot comics like X Men 1 and Youngblood 1 can today be found selling for under a dollar apiece br Veteran comic book fans pointed out an important fact about the high value of classic comic books that was largely overlooked by the speculators original comic books of the Golden Age of Comic Books were genuinely rare Most of the original comic books had not survived to the present era having been thrown out in the trash or discarded as worthless children s waste just like baseball cards typically were at that time by parents stories of uncaring parents throwing out their kids comic book collections are well known to the Baby Boom generation or recycled along with other periodicals in the paper drives of World War II As a result a comic book of interest to fans or collectors from the 1940s through the 1960s such as an original issue of Superman Captain America Challengers of the Unknown or Vault of Horror was often extremely difficult to find and thus highly prized by collectors in a manner similar to coin collectors seeking copies of the 1955 doubled die cent In many ways with an enormous supply of high grade copies the hot comics of the speculator boom were the complete opposite br The bust of the speculator market br The comic book speculator market reached a saturation point in the early 1990s and finally collapsed between 1993 through 1997 Two thirds of all comic book specialty stores closed in this time period and numerous publishers were driven out of business Even industry giant Marvel Comics was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1997 although they were able to continue publishing

It is surmised that one of the main factors in Marvel s downfall was the decision to switch to self distribution Up until then many publishers went through secondary distributors such as the current and only mass distributor Diamond Comic Distributors and Marvel felt it could preserve some of its cash flow if it made the move to becoming one of the few publishers to also distribute directly to the comic market This backfired terribly when the bottom fell out of the market as they were stocked with multiple printings of variant and collectible issues that were no longer in high demand and they could not cover the costs of their distribution service br The bust can also be linked back to some of the series that caused the boom a few years earlier DC s decision to publish two blockbuster stories depicting the loss of their two major superheroes Knightfall the breaking of the Batman and The Death of Superman and their subsequent flooding of the press as to its supposed finality is considered by some collectors to have started a slow decay within the non regular buyer comic community which then led to drops in sales Many comic retailers believe that numerous comic speculators took the death and crippling of two major characters to signify the end of the Batman and Superman series As many comic readers and retailers knew full well very little in comics actually changes with any finality Many aspects of the status quo returned after the story arcs were over Superman died but was resurrected and Batman was crippled but eventually recovered br Many comic speculators who were only in the market to see important comics mature then sell them for a tidy profit didn t quite understand how quick the turn around would be on the story recant and many rushed out to scoop up as many copies of whatever issues were to be deemed significant Comic shops received not only staggering sales during the week that Superman died but also had to try and meet the demand This led to the saturation of the market and the devaluing of what was thought to be the end of an American icon Some comic book retailers and theorists deem DC s practices in the press forum and their relationship with the non specialized consumer to be grossly negligent of the status of the market and that their marketing campaign whereas most likely not malicious in intent spelled doom for the speculator market and comic sales in general Others place the blame for the comic market crash on Marvel whose product line had bloated to hundreds of separate titles by late 1993 including the poorly received Marvel UK and 2099 lines or creator owned upstart Image Comics who fed the speculator feeding frenzy more than any other comics publisher br Other publishing houses had different problems Valiant Comics at one point the third largest comic book publisher was sold to the video game giant Acclaim Entertainment for 65 million in June 1994 Acclaim renamed the line Acclaim Comics in 1996 Their primary motivation was to make the properties more suitable for use in video game development Eventually Acclaim filed for bankruptcy following the collapse of its video game business The miniseries Deathmate a crossover between Image Comics and Valiant Comics is often considered to have been the final nail in the speculation market s coffin although heavily hyped and highly anticipated when initially solicited the books from the Image Comics side shipped so many months late that reader interest disappeared by the time the series finally materialized leaving some retailers holding literally hundreds of unsellable copies of the various Deathmate crossovers Other companies such as Broadway Comics Comico Continuity Comics Defiant Comics Eclipse Comics First Comics and Malibu Comics also ceased publication in the period between 1993 and 1997 br Post bubble speculation br Since 1997 comic book sales have fallen to a fraction of early 1990s levels with print runs of many popular titles down as much as 90 from their peaks Currently most of the hype generated around the major companies comics involves changes to the characters well known creators writing or illustrating a title and buzz surrounding an adaptation to another medium such as film or television The one remaining bastion for comic speculation remains in online auction sites such as eBay but even there comic books remain a buyer s market The highest price paid for a comic book is 350 000 for Marvel Comics No 1 bought by Jay Parrino USA in November 2001 br In the 2000s prices for rare near mint comics rose steadily doubling in some cases This was aided in part by newly established comic book grading companies such as Professional Grading eXperts LLC PGX and Comic Guaranty LLC CGC Improved accountability has increased collector confidence although some collectors have complained that the market has become more about speculation instead of being focused on the art and stories br Conservation of comics br Comics being a printed medium should be stored in cool dark places as sunlight can bleach the pages and heat and moisture can also damage them Sunlight can also react with the paper causing it to yellow as well as having a bleaching effect on the inks used within the comic Some collectors advise against storing comics in cardboard boxes or using backing boards as these are both sources of acid which can react with the fibers of the paper of comics eventually destroying a comic If these products are used to store comics these collectors advise using products marked as acid free citation needed br PET film polyethylene or polypropylene storage bags are popular and

Comedian/Beautiful human, Kassem G, talks to convention goers about Comic-Con. Posters: **** Check out the UNCUT footage: Bomb Queen: Jessica Nigri: Necromistress: **** Latest AsKassem: Jessica's Links: **** FIND ME ONLINE: SEND ME LETTERS: 2461 Santa Monica Blvd. #511 Santa Monica, CA 90404
Video Rating: 4 / 5

My ComicCon SWAG (Comics)
Image by heath_bar
. . . see the notes above.

Check out my Blog on info of my Comic Con trip.

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